Reducing my bill via free texting and calls over WiFi

I am moving over from Sprint because I believe I can greatly reduce my monthly phone bill with your pricing structure.  Here is what I am presently using to get totally free service over WiFi.

Handset: LG Optimus S 

I have rooted the Optimus via this thread on Android Forums. It is MUCH easier now. Rooting is not required, just recommended.

http://forums.androidcentral.com/lg-optimus-s-rooting-roms-hacks/79208-how-rooting-ls670zvd-gingerbreak-no-reverting-ota-works-too.html 

Necessary apps:

Google Voice (free)

::It will require a free account at http://www.voice.google.com. This is the app I use to send all my texts. I've been using it for over a year, and it's stable if not a tad slow.

GrooveIP (3.99)

:: This enables phone calls over WiFi or 3G/4G. I have it set to call over WiFi only. All the other settings worked out of the box for the Optimus. I used this on a Evo 4G with Sprint and it required some tweaking. 

With that, I haven't used a single text or minute from my plan with the exception of a few tests.  Of course, this won't work when you're in the middle of nowhere, but WiFi is so common that I won't have a problem keeping my bill far below what I used to pay.

I am using this on the Optimus until I sell my previous phones.  I'll upgrade to something faster eventually.  Maybe. (The battery life is amazing)

A few recommended apps:

SetCPU (1.99, requires root)

::I use this to keep things running smoothly as GrooveIP and and Google Voice are running in the background.

 DroidSail (free, requires root)

::The Optimus is a good phone, but with only 512mb of internal storage it's a huge relief to have an app which can move ANY other app onto the sd card. This includes system apps and pre-installed apps. 

Quick Settings (free)

::Easy way to turn mobile data on/off and manage WiFi networks on the go.

Eventually I'll try out Locale which will manage my phone settings based upon location.


 

All in all, Ting will cost me $25 per month at my regular usage without any other phones on the account.  The best plan I could get elsewhere would run about $50 per month. By using my WiFi I plan to reduce that to $15 per month. Either way, win/win.

 

http://CullenJWebb.com

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Comments

83 comments
  • I have a question. I installed GV and Spare Phone to reduce voice minutes on our Ting phones. 

    I called my daughter using her GV phone number (not ting number) from my landline phone (not related to Ting at all). I am still seeing the minutes accumulate in my Ting Dashboard account. What am I doing wrong? I uploaded a pic of her GV settings.

    I appreciate your help!

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  • @Susan - you must have the "forward calls to: google chat" checked or GV is just routing the number to your private Ting number. Spare Phone uses the Google Chat feature to answer calls. The whole point of VoIP is to NOT use the cellular connection, but to use a Wifi connection that you get for free. Just keep both checked and answer via Spare Phone when on Wifi, otherwise pick up with the standard dialer to use the cellular connection.

    I use an app called AutoAir (only works on 4.1.x and lower) to automatically shut off the cell signal when connected to Wifi. This prevents double rings (one from Spare Phone, and the other from the native dialer).

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  • @Seth--Thanks very much for your help! I appreciate your taking time out on a Sunday to help! I just made a test call. I was able to call my GV number and answer with Spare Phone dialer (which I could not do before). I assume since my Spare Phone dialer popped up on the screen that my minutes will not accumulate in the Ting Dashboard.

    Thanks again!

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  • Seth's answer is spot-on.  The best way to test these kinds of things is to put the phone in airplane mode, but then turn only wi-fi back on.  That makes sure that the phone is not going to see any cellular connection.  Then if the call comes through and you can answer it, you know it's working over the wi-fi.

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  • @Seth and Rocky. Thanks for the suggestion regarding AutoAir/airplane mode. ! It worked! This is fun! (how sad am I?).

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  • @Seth-AutoAir doesn't seem to work on Nexus4. Any way out for the double rings (one from Spare Phone, and the other from the native dialer)? Thanks

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  • Any response to @Daniel on Ting of alternatives to GV Forwarder to make sure calls go to the phone instead of GrooveIP when not on wifi?

    @Carl Aron/@Kyle Martinez what plugin were you using with tasker to accomplish this?

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  • @John Swain, I rarely enable Groove Forwarder anymore btw, and not since a few updates. It might actually work better now, who knows.

     

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  • @Daniel, what do you use instead?

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  • I have incomming ring on both Ting smart phones as well as Skype on my computer all at the same time, traditionally answering via Skype if in my office using a bluetooth headset. Outgoing I just use the dialer of choice at that moment, when I have wifi I use an IP dialer or Skype, when no wifi I use the traditional dialer. Skype has become the relaible source for most of my calls these days, at $4 a month it offsets my Ting bill by a lot.

    To really answer your question I rarely use any autoswitching as it was unreliable to do so. I might go back to doing so if something good comes along. For now I like the setup I am using, it just works.

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  • I activated my Ting phone (LG Marquee) yesterday. I am using Google voice # and Spare Phone while on WIFI. I have WIFI at home and work. My google voice is set up to forward calls to all my phones including my Ting number. In Ting dashboard I have it set up to use data, not use voicemail and forward calls to my GV number. Call calling and received is not checked on Ting dashboard.

    1. However, 2 people called my Ting number yesterday. Both calls showed up as missed calls with email notification to my gmail. But these 2 calls are also showing up as having used Ting minutes.  The calls showed the from number as my GV#. How is this possible given my set up in Ting? I had called Ting and was told call forwarding will not use my minutes.

    2. I suspect asking GV to forward calls to my Ting number is now a double dipping with Ting forwarding calls to GV# and GV# forwading it back to Ting#. How do I work around this?

    3. When out of WIFI (home & work), I would like to still use GV-Spare phone combo to receive and make calls. Are there special settings in Ting or the smartphone that I need to make?

    4. I am using Autoair app to turn WIFI of and on but it doesn't appear reliable. Tasker and Locale appear complicated, is there a simple app to auto change from WIFI to cell data?

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  • My questions 1-2 above appeared to have been answered previously by others, here is a link https://help.ting.com/entries/21511822-1-min-charges

    I will appreciate answers to questions 3-4. Thanks.

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  • @ABIGAIL ARTHUR, hey I autoair app worked great with my LG Marquee and Nexus S.  Use automateit app to turn data on/off automatically.  I use talkatone free version and it works GREAT!!!!!!!!!  Quick tip, use wifi analyzer app to see what's the best wifi channel for your router so you get faster internet on your phone.

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  • If I understand correctly, everything about this thread is pretty much null and void after May 15 when Google Voice cuts off their 3rd party APIs. Anyone have any idea how calls can be made over wifi (particularly on iOS) in a post-Google Voice world?

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  • As of now, you can make calls over wifi using the Hangouts app on iOS. I am assuming before the 3rd party axe date, they will also add this functionality to the Android Hangouts app.

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  • Okay, this is probably an easy fix but seems I'm not saving any minutes even when I'm making the calls.  I have Sparephone and Google voice.  GrooveIP did not work for me, too staticky.  I get the voicemail through Gmail.  Problem is I don't have the settings correctly on anything, especially my phone and the app.  I have a Samsung Note II.  My minutes are still being billed when I make phone calls using Sparephone.  Any ideas what I'm doing wrong?  Thanks!

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  • Haven't heard of GrooveIP, but I use a magicJack for my home landline, and MJ will allow you to add a cell phone to the line.  

     

    That way, I can also make free calls w/o incurring "cost per minute charges".

     

    What's the best "MMS/SMS" service that does the same thing?  Anybody out there found a decent text messaging svc?  Thx ;)

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  • Ali, are texts sent via Hangouts (is that even an option?) also free?  (if sent via wifi I mean).

    Also would texts sent to cell phones be charged?

    I'm assuming Hangouts doesn't charge for texts sent to Google Voice email addresses.

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  • I have poor phone signal at my house and I'm wondering if I should try porting my number to GV and set up GrooveIP for calls over wifi or if I should wait for whatever updates Google dishes out on Hangouts. Any thoughts?

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  • After May 15th Groove IP will not work with Google Voice.   I have found the best thing to do is get a VOIP account with a VOIP provider that has a wifi app.  Have your google number ring that VOIP number and therefor it will ring your phone.  I have signed up with Vestalink.  They provide not only an app to receive calls but you can spoof your number so your outgoing calls appear to come from your google number.

    Doing this will allow you to cancel your cell phone and use this over Wifi.  Now you have to remember it only works over Wifi or a 3G, 4G signal so you have to at least have Wifi for it to work.  

     Vestalink is super cheap and you can use it for your home phone also.  Buy a VOIP adapter -- from them it is like 45 dollars or get an OBI device off amazon for like 35 - 60 dollars depending upon which one you want (the cheaper one works just as well as the more expensive one. The more expensive one would just allow you have more than one number)   The set up is super simple and I am receiving calls not only at home but also on my cell phone.  Check it out -- right now it is like $89.99 for two years of unlimited calling.  There are several other plans to choose from also.  They also offer the first 60 minutes or 30 days FREE.  Check them out. http://www.vestalink.com/#_l_8q

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  • If you not a data hugged why not use chit chat mobile unlimited talk and t text only $20 plus tax....

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  • Hmm, I just looked at Chit Chat.  They are interesting, but they aren't getting very good feedback on Howard Forums because of terrible customer service and no roaming coverage.

    http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php/1775837-Anyone-heard-of-Chit-Chat-Wireless/page5

    The plan says $20 if you use no mobile data at all, but it goes up pretty fast from there.  $5 extra for 100mb of data.  $3 extra for picture messaging, but then they don't count that as data, although you do have to have a data plan to do this.  Still, $28 is not bad for high usage if you use a lot of minutes.  They don't really do shared plans, though.  We have two phones with Ting:  500 minutes, 1000 texts, and 100 mb of data, and it's $33.  If you have more than one phone, I just don't see anyone beating Ting.  Also, I just LOVE Ting as a company, and their customer support is better than just about any other company there is, so I want to support them even if it costs me a little more.

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  • We have an alternative that works better than Google Voice when it comes to VoIP calling. It's not free like GV but it's so inexpensive and carries the best value.

    Vestalink voip service will meet your needs. It's almost a drop-in replacement for Google Voice. ( http://www.vestalink.com/topic/google-voice-replacement-phone-service )

    Vestalink works on Android and Apple devices as well as OBi’s and any other device that uses SIP. It rings all your phones at once if you want it to, has E911 service, and lots of nice call treatments and privacy options.

    It allows you to spoof your outgoing call number to match any other phone number you own.  You will love it. :-)

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